Inter-hospital knowledge sharing: Insights from case studies on infrastructure issues during COVID-19


  • Carl-Magnus von Behr University of Cambridge
  • Tim Minshall Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • John Clarkson Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge



Knowledge sharing, Healthcare organization


This paper presents findings on knowledge sharing (KS) behaviours among Estates and Facilities Management (EFM) staff in the English National Health Service (NHS). EFM departments play a crucial role in ensuring the safe delivery of healthcare services while facing the impacts of disasters, climate change hazards, and continuous organisational change. Effective KS among hospitals is required to efficiently manage these constantly changing conditions and emerging challenges. While previous research has largely focused on evidence-based clinical knowledge dissemination among clinical professionals, scant research has been conducted to investigate KS processes among EFM departments. The research draws on primary case study data from semi-structured interviews with 34 EFM professionals conducted in seven NHS hospitals across England. Using qualitative analysis and the persona technique, we identify variations in KS behaviour among managerial levels and explore the associated barriers to KS. The findings reveal that KS is more prevalent among strategic-level managers, who engage in regular peer discussions and focus on the sharing of knowledge and best practices. In contrast, operational-level managers face barriers to KS due to a lack of personal networks and time constraints. The study also highlights the effects of frequent organisational changes in the NHS, which has resulted in a lack of technical in-house expertise and slow central coordination. The study concludes that a centralised coordination is necessary to facilitate effective KS, with a focus on the organisation of peer collaboration, enhancing the centralised online repository for best practice and academic research, and the use of a national skills register. The study extends the current literature by identifying variations in KS behaviour among managerial levels and providing insights into the barriers to KS in the NHS EFM workforce. The findings have implications for NHS managers and policymakers seeking to improve KS in the EFM workforce, particularly in addressing the barriers faced by operational-level managers and the need for a centralised coordination to facilitate effective KS.